Young Ringers Go Bellistic

by Gerry Lynch last modified 21 Jul, 2018 09:39 PM

Youth team of ringers from Diocese compete at national event in London

Forget the summer’s exploits on the football and cricket pitches; the competitive surprise package locally was the group of ten young ringers from the Salisbury Diocesan Guild of Ringers who, along with supporters, travelled to London to take part in the Ringing World National Youth Contest (RWNYC) with 21 other teams.

Their team name was ‘Go Bellistic’.

This is the first time the Salisbury Guild has been able to enter a team since the competition started in 2011. Leaving behind the green churchyards of Dorset and Wiltshire and the beaches of Swanage, Weymouth and Lyme Regis, they enjoyed a memorable but sweltering day in the capital.

Rewind to January this year, when a call went out to young ringers in the Guild to see if it could put together a team. They needed 8 participants and could also have 2 reserves. It looked promising, so the plunge was taken and the application form was filled in.

Practices at Preston, Wareham, Fordingbridge and Wimborne needed to be fitted in around football, tennis, horseriding, cricket (one broken finger, three weeks before the competition), music events, Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, part-time jobs – and the small matter of the Conductor’s GCSE exams. It wasn’t until the last few practices that that the whole team rang together.

The first couple of attempts at the test piece of 160 rows of Call Changes (including Queens and Whittingtons) were a bit chaotic but, fuelled by biscuits, cake and more recently ice lollies, confidence grew and it all started to come together.

On competition day itself, the Salisbury team was drawn to ring at Cubitt Town on the Isle of Dogs. It was here, in July 1912, that the first all-ladies’ peal was rung; there is an enormous peal board in the ringing room with all the details.

There were eight teams in the heat, some ringing Call Changes and some doing Method ringing. Salisbury was the fourth to ring, after just fifteen minutes to practise, adjust ropes and ring the test piece. The ringing room was like a sauna! The adults weren’t allowed to give any advice at all, so the team really was on its own. There were one or two minor blips, but all went pretty much according to plan and everyone felt relieved to have finished.

The group then split into two and went off to ring at various other towers including the rings of twelve at Southwark Cathedral and St Magnus-the-Martyr, as well as “the Great Bells of Bow” (twelve bells, Tenor 41cwt). For several of the young ringers this was the first time they had ever rung on twelve bells.

Despite getting a creditable ‘C’ grade on its first outing, especially as it was one of the youngest teams in the competition with an average age of 14, the Salisbury ‘Go Bellistic’ team didn’t get through to the final in the afternoon, so were able to carry on running around visiting towers until the results at 6pm.

After everyone had been presented with their medals, it was announced that next year’s competition would take place in … Liverpool! 

Full results @ Ringing World

The Go Bellistic! band:

Treble Alfie (East Dorset Branch) – Assistant Conductor
2 William (Dorchester Branch)
3 Annabel (Dorchester Branch)
4 Ian (Salisbury Branch)
5 Ellana (East Dorset Branch)
6 Ed (West Dorset Branch)
7 Max (East Dorset Branch)
Tenor Lewis (West Dorset Branch) – Conductor

Reserves: Rhiannon and Katie (both East Dorset Branch)

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